Let me tell you a story. It's a gardening story about my mother and a little about me.
My mother never in her 83 years of living tried to give anyone the impression that she liked gardening. She didn't like the hot sun and wasn't the least bit interested in sweating. She loved air conditioning more than fresh air. She was city girl through and through.
The year before she passed away, she moved to a retirement community, where she made new friends and participated in all the activities. She became part of a group of women called the Fun-shine Group. They were so popular the other residents wanted to sit with them. The tables were set up for four, but they always managed to squeeze in a few more chairs. She proudly told me about how the dining room staff had a special sign made just for their table. I think it said, "The Fun Shine Girls shine here. "
My mom was having a ball. Many times she would be too busy to talk. I learned never to call on Friday afternoons...that was Happy Hour in the lounge! My sisters and I were tickled pink that she was blossoming.
I have no idea how she came to agree to help her good friends Jeri and Judy clean up the Rose beds, but she did. The grounds were lovely, but, the roses were looking poorly. Someone organized the day and got everyone gloves and tools. Imagine my
I didn't talk with her that evening, but, called the next day in eager anticipation to hear how she had faired at gardening! She told me all about it. How they cleaned out the old canes, weeded the beds and even how long it took. Not one complaint from her!
You can't imagine how excited I was to hear this tale; finally my mom and I would share an interest in gardening. I was off and running with fantasies of garden visits, planting containers and mulling over catalogues.
Me: "Mom, did you have a good time? Did you enjoy gardening?"
Mom: "You've got to be kidding, I hated every minute of it! All the volunteers decided it was too hot and quit and Jeri and I were stuck cleaning the mess out all by ourselves."
Me: "You mean you didn't like any of it?"
Mom: "Absolutely, not!"
My balloon was burst; we weren't going to be bonding over the garden fence, there would be no mulling over catalogues and no garden strolls.
|Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' will have to substitute for Hollyhocks for now!|
Nothing ever changed her opinion about gardening. She marveled at how much I loved to garden and how many plants I had stuffed into my yard. When pressed she admitted that there was one plant she especially liked. It was the Hollyhock, she loved the single ones in pinks, yellows and reds. They must have been special for her to even know the name of a garden plant!
I plant them every year, but, this year, I haven't found any of the singles. I'll keep checking the nurseries.
I love imagining how much she would have enjoyed seeing them...from the house!
PS This is an editing of a Mother's Day post I wrote for Mother's Day 2008. My mom had just passed away and it was a healing balm to tell funny 'Bernice' stories. We miss her dearly and nowadays telling stories about her makes us all smile.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone." She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.